Man at centre of Kashmir human shield row now on election duty
Farooq Ahmad Dar, the Kashmiri artisan who was tied to the bonnet of an army jeep during the 2017 by-elections in Jammu and Kashmir, on Thursday was posted on election duty in the Srinagar Lok Sabha constituency. He, however, did not vote.
“He (Dar) is with Khan Sahib Hospital on health duty related to polls,” Chief medical officer, Budgam, Nazir Ahmad said.
Dar, 28, who is from Cheill-Brass village in Beerwah had just come out after casting his vote on April 9, 2017 when stone pelting started in the area. To avoid attack by the stonepelters, Major Leetul Gogoi of the Rashtriya Rifles tied Dar to the bonnet of his jeep as he left the spot parading him through 17 villages after he had voted in the by-election for Srinagar Lok Sabha seat.
Defending his action, Gogoi said the move “saved lives” including those of election officials from stone-pelters.
The incident invoked sharp reactions after the photograph of Dar being used as “human shield” splashed across the media. The State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) ordered the Jammu and Kashmir government to pay him Rs 10 lakh in compensation.
Though Dar is yet to get the compensation, the government did give him the job of a sweeper in the Health Department on consolidated wages last year.
“Dar is now a temporary worker in the health department at Khan Sahib. He left home yesterday (Wednesday) as he had been assigned some work related to elections. He was needed to clean the premises,” said his brother Fayaz, adding that “He did not vote today. You know what happened to him in last elections.”
At Chill village, about 55 km from Srinagar, people still remember the incident. Some villagers, however, did come out to vote today and by the time voting ended, 216 out of 890 voters in the polling station at a government middle school in the village had exercised their franchise.
“We want development. We want water and power. We want water in the washroom of the only school in our village,” said a woman waiting in a queue to cast her vote.
“We are poor people. We don’t have a proper road, we drink muddy water and there is no bridge over Nallah Sukhnag passing through our village,” said Ghulam Mohammad Chopan, a farmer.
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